Meet the Sullivans: July 2012

July 31, 2012

Beachy

I feel really lucky to live in an area where we can be at either the ocean or the bay in thirty minutes or less. There are so many great things about living in the Bay Area (the crazy home prices are not one of those things) and being close to the beach is definitely at the top of that list.

We went with my mom and sister to lunch yesterday in Half Moon Bay. We love going out there for lunch on a nice day! Owen fell asleep in the stroller when we got there, so we ordered some appetizers and drinks. Mai tais, margaritas and a beer sampler were the picks!





My mom has started collecting charms for her charm bracelet. Aren't they colorful? She picked the O for Owen, the C for Colleen + Conan (her dog) and K for Kathleen + Keith. Funny that I get to be one in the same with my mom's dog, right?

The nachos are amazing. I would eat nachos for dinner if that were considered acceptable! 

And then the cutie woke up and decided to have some fun!







This is his first time at the beach. We literally walked down there, put our toes in, snapped a few pictures and left. I can't imagine how much more sandy and dirty he would have been if we had stayed any longer!

Check out the rolls on those cute chunky legs!

xoxox,
Colleen

My Erin Condren Life Planner for 2013

I’m linking up today with Meredith from The Tichenor Family for an Erin Condren Life Planner link up. I'm a little late to the party since I took so long to decide on which cover to pick for next year.


This year I chose the Candy Lace cover design and went with a custom color way (light grey & multi). I chose to start my 12-month planner in January since my current 18-month EC planner ends in December.


This year there are a few new changes, all for the better of course, and my favorite has got to be the laminated tabs! I take my life planner with me everywhere I go. My current one went in and out of my purse every morning and now it's in and out of the diaper bag daily--so it's nice to know these tabs will stand up to the challenge.


They've also traded out the less sturdy plastic coil for a thicker aluminum one.



Another notable change worth mentioning is that this year they've made the planner slimmer and thus less bulky. 


The monthly views have been expanded into a 2 page spread, which allows for so much more space to write in.


I added on the set of personalized notepads, which have adhesive on the back now so they can stick to the back of the planner. I used up my pads from last year really quickly. 



I also added the adhesive pen holder. I've been clipping a pen onto the spiral / coil when I take it with me, but this will be so much more convenient--and I probably won't lose as many pens this way!


They've included a laminated bookmark / ruler to make keeping your place easier.


The "keep it together" folder changed just a bit. It is no longer double sided, but the deeper pocket will hold papers, etc. together better.


Erin is so nice to also include a few coordinating gift labels.

There are a few different kinds of pens (and a pencil) I like to use with my planner:

I considered buying the colorful pen set, but thought I'd wait on those since I obviously have more than enough pens as it is!

I rotate the pens depending on what I'm in the mood for and the pencil is for things that are tentative. I swear by that pencil. It is the very best one I've ever used. I used that style and brand all through my years of teaching in my lesson plan book.

Okay, enough about my pen obsession! Happy Tuesday!

If you're interested in buying any of Erin Condren's amazing products just use this referral link to get $10 OFF your first order!! 

July 30, 2012

Menu Monday & a Brain Dump

I'm trying out two new recipes this week. They are similar in flavor, but that's just because I love all things mexican food. Doesn't the Chipotle Chicken Salad look good? And I'm thinking the Chicken Tamale Casserole will be a great addition to my "recipes for cold weather" arsenal. Both are Cooking Light recipes. 
On to the brain dump:

1. Oh my gosh, I really need to work on Owen's baby book. I've been doing an okay job with it, but I'd like to make it really great since I know that our next child probably won't get one (I won't have time!).

2. Our 2 year wedding anniversary is coming up in about a week (August 7th!). Someone asked the other day how long we've been married and I almost told them a year--whoops! Time has gone by so quickly.

3. On that note, traditionally the second anniversary is the cotton anniversary. Last year we gave each other traditionally themed gifts. We're going to do a gift from us to us this year instead of individual gifts and decided we should buy new bedding.

4. It seems like everyone has something adorable on from Bridier Baubles lately. I've been holding back on buying something because I just can't decide what I like the most! Recently these two have caught my eye. I think both could transition from late Summer to Fall well, right?
5. Keith ran the San Francisco (half) Marathon yesterday. I am so proud of him! I know there were some mornings where it was very hard for him to get out there for practice runs after a certain someone was up all night.


6. My life planner came on Friday! I love the design and custom color way (Candy Lace in grey + multi) and think it turned out perfectly! It is exactly what I hoped it would look like.

7. I'm doing our grocery shopping online this week. Most of the time I enjoy my weekly grocery shopping trips, but when we're really busy on the weekend it can be such a chore and a hassle. Making the list (checking it twice??), doing the shopping, checking out, loading and unloading the car, and then unpacking it all can = 2 hours! Not time I want to waste, people. Also, I am likely to spend less and make better decisions when I can see my grand total and I don't make any impulse buys.

8. We're having family photos taken in September / October and I'm feeling the pressure to start shopping for our attire. We love our photographer! She took our engagement and wedding photos and photos for a few of our friends.

9. Little man is crawling. We're baby proofing. Any tips?

10. We're going to lunch today with my mom and sister. I can't wait to sit by the ocean, in the sun (hopefully!) and enjoy time with people I love. And drink one of these:


Happy Monday, friends!

Did / do you have a baby book for your children? Do you give traditional anniversary gifts? Any tips for baby proofing?

PS. How sweet is this?

July 26, 2012

Polka Dots Are Everywhere

Did you watch the special on Mickey Drexler, aka the "King of Retail, aka J. Crew's CEO? It was really neat getting seeing behind the scenes of one of my very favorite brands and also get to take a peak at some of Fall's upcoming trends through the eyes of the company. 


Most exciting discovery? Polka dots will be big this Fall, and they're popping up everywhere! J. Crew has some great options in the youthful print like this top and this sweater and don't forget this blouse.

BUT...

...being a stay-at-home mom has vastly changed my shopping tendencies. Not the desire to shop, just the behavior. When I was working we had a little more disposable income, and so I felt much less guilty if I indulged in a few pricy pieces here and there. But now with my sweet boy here, and the fact that I do not bring home a pay check, I'm finding ways to still satisfy my desire for beautiful things while not making my poor husband lose his mind, or spend all of Owen's college fund.

Exhibit A: This beautiful navy pleated polka-dot crepe J. Crew skirt. An impractical purchase for a stay-at-home mom who usually just wears a pony tail, t-shirt and yoga pants, but I still adore it none-the-less. The only problem, besides the fact I would get few chances to wear it is the $148 price tag.
Enter Forever 21. The Forever 21 skirt is similar and so close to the beautiful J. Crew version, but only $12.80. Such such such a steal, right? I love when I can find a deal on something I've been wanting or a substitute that satisfies a craving!

Like "the perfect chambray shirt" I'd been searching for that I finally found of way less than what I expected!

July 24, 2012

Recipe: Granola

This is a delicious and simple granola recipe! If I had to give it stars it would get the full 5, as it did from the 323 people who've reviewed it on the Food Network's website. You can really use any combination of nuts and dried fruit that fits your taste!

Ingredients
3 cups rolled oats
1 cup slivered almonds
1 cup cashews
3/4 cup shredded sweet coconut
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons maple syrup
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup raisins

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.
2. In a large bowl, combine the oats, nuts, coconut, and brown sugar.
3. In a separate bowl, combine maple syrup, oil, and salt. Combine both mixtures and pour onto 2 sheet pans. Cook for 1 hour and 15 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes to achieve an even color.
4. Remove from oven and transfer into a large bowl. Add raisins and mix until evenly distributed.

I like to keep ours in a jar with a lid so it stays fresh and we have easy access to it. I doubled the recipe since we like to use it for breakfast parfaits mostly!

I'm linking up on this beautiful Tuesday morning with 33 Shades of Green (a GREAT foodie blog) for Tasty Tuesdays! So please take a few moments to head over and see what tasty things everyone else is sharing today! 

July 23, 2012

Menu Monday & Scenes from the Weekend


Happy Monday everyone! We had a great weekend (it's still technically our weekend since Monday is really like Keith's Sunday) and today were off bright and early for Owen's 6 month well baby doctor's visit. I can't wait to see where he stands in terms of height and weight percentiles. He seems really long, or should I call it tall? His second tooth is coming through and it is really causing him some discomfort. My poor baby boy.

Anyway, here is what we have planned in the kitchen this week: 
I'm excited to make all of these dishes / meals / creations this week. I few I've made before and the rest I've found on Pinterest, Tidy Mom, in The Pioneer Woman cookbook, Keeping Up with the Joneses and The Food Network's website.

And some scenes from our weekend: 

We finally got around to "date night" Saturday night. We dropped Owen off at my mom's and grabbed a quick dinner before seeing a movie. Dinner consisted of beer + pizza at Golden Boy and The Dark Knight Rises, which was excellent! I haven't ever been very impressed with Anne Hathaway's acting, but she really really surprised me in this one. She hit Cat woman right on the mark--fabulous job! 

I took Owen on a full out grocery shopping trip Sunday morning while Keith was running--we had a full cart by the end of the trip. He was wonderful and so happy the entire time. He just loves taking in all the sights and smiling at people as we stroll down the aisles!

This cutie pie is crawling now! He doesn't make it very far, but he is managing to get his knees moving and his arms forward. He makes it a few moves before crashing into the carpet. We're so proud of him!! Now we just need to do some baby proofing--any suggestions / tips ?

Sunday afternoon we went for a picnic with our friends the Smiths. Jackie and I have been friends forever and she and her husband have a boy, Nico, just two weeks and two days younger than Owen. It is so fun getting together with them!








The weeks are going by so quickly--it's going to be Friday again in the blink of an eye!

July 22, 2012

How Exciting is This??



Mark your calendars!

Discount retailer Target Corp. and luxury department store chain Neiman Marcus Group Inc. said Tuesday that they are teaming up to sell a holiday collection featuring limited edition items by 24 top designers, as each retailer seeks to broaden its appeal.

Target and Neiman will each sell 50 items by designers such as Tory Burch, Carolina Herrera and Marc Jacobs in their stores and on their websites beginning Dec. 1.

Setting my alarm now so I don't miss out on anything great!

July 20, 2012

Recipe: Peach Mango Pineapple Mint Margarita

I usually like my margaritas on the rocks, but when I saw this concoction I thought I'd give the blended variety another chance. Mint is an interesting, unique and welcome flavor to add to an otherwise standard fruity margarita. If you like margaritas and you like mojitos you'll really love this cocktail!

Yield 4 servings

1 cup raspberry pink lemonade
1 cup frozen mango cubes
1 cups frozen peaches
1 cup frozen pineapple
2 ½ cups ice cubes
2 tablespoons sugar
¼ cup mint leaves
½ cup tequila
4 lime wedges
Salt for garnish

1. In a blender, combine lemonade, mango, and peaches. Cover and puree.
2. Add the ice cubes, sugar, mint leaves, and tequila, and puree until smooth.
3. Using the lime wedges, moisten the rim of serving glasses. Dip the rims in the salt and coat well.
4. Pour the margarita mixture equally into the four glasses and garnish each with a mint leaf.

You are welcome, of course, to adjust the ingredients to your own taste. I used the Simple brand lemonade found at my Safeway near the refrigerated OJ. For the frozen fruit I used 3 cups of a pineapple/peach/mango blend purchased at Costco. I also used a dash more tequila than this recipe calls for.

This recipe was adapted from a margarita found on Delight Gluten Free Magazine's site.

July 19, 2012

Owen is 6 Months!

Dear Owen,

This week you turn 6 months old! It's hard to believe that half of your first year of life is behind us! Every week you learn new exciting and cute things!

-Your first tooth came in this month-- bottom left. Teething has been hard on you, but we've given you cold wash cloths, teething toys frozen in the freezer and some Tylenol to help you feel better.

-You sit unassisted and love to play this way on the carpet!

-You're really into grabbing faces and give "kisses" (which really feels more like were being eaten). You love noses, lips and hair. Luckily you haven't discovered my earrings yet!

-We've started giving you your baths in the sink because you were getting real crazy in your plastic tub! You still love LOVE love bath time!



-You graduated from Gymboree Level One this week, so next week we'll start the 6-12 month class. You love going  to Gymboree and I think it's because you love to have an audience. You keep all the moms and babies entertained. I often feel a tiny bit shy when you're talking up a storm while the teacher is talking. From a former teacher's perspective I really hope you don't do that in school!

- You are SO close to crawling! You can push up on all fours and can sort of scoot forward and backward. You get really frustrated being contained because you just want to move! We're in big trouble when you start moving!

-You started solids at 5 months and 3 weeks while Dadda was camping. You stare at us when we're eating like it's the most interesting this in the world, so we really felt you were ready!

-You are still in love with any and all dogs. If we want to keep you entertained all we need to do is make sure Rocky / Conan are near by. You love them so much!

- You are wearing mostly 6-9 and 9 month clothes and size 3 diapers. We take you for your 6 month doctor visit next Monday, so I will update your stats then! Update: You weigh 17lbs 10 oz (50%) and you are 26 3/4 inches (62%).

It makes my heart heavy hoping that you will always know how amazing, strong, smart, sweet, loving and wonderful you are. You're all of those things to the fullest. We love you more than words can describe. You make each day happy and silly and wonderful! We love you with all of our hearts, sweet boy!

xoxox,

Mommy